Israel adds Saudi to its list of COVID-19 'green countries' after PM's reported visit to kingdom

On Tuesday, the health ministry confirmed that Saudi Arabia had been added to the safe list a day earlier, but dismissed any link to Netanyahu's reported visit to city of Neom on Sunday

Agence France-Presse November 24, 2020 17:25:00 IST
Israel adds Saudi to its list of COVID-19 'green countries' after PM's reported visit to kingdom

File image of Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters

Jerusalem: A day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reported trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel's health ministry added the kingdom to its list of coronavirus "green" countries, exempting returning travellers from quarantine.

The health ministry on Tuesday confirmed that Saudi Arabia had been added to the safe list a day earlier, but dismissed any link to Netanyahu's reported visit to the futuristic Red Sea city of Neom on Sunday.

"The process is very simple and it happens once every two weeks," health ministry director-general Hezi Levi told public broadcaster Kan on Tuesday morning.

"On the previous list Saudi Arabia was red," he said. "The morbidity rates decreased. It's now green.

"It has nothing to do with anyone's visit to any country."

Israeli media reported that Netanyahu travelled to Neom for landmark talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, which has no official diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

There has been unconfirmed speculation that Saudi Arabia might be seeking to become the latest Arab state to normalise ties with Israel.

An Israeli government source contacted by AFP confirmed the talks, which Riyadh firmly denied on Monday, and the kingdom has publicly said it will not establish diplomatic relations with Israel until the Palestinian conflict is resolved.

Had Saudi Arabia not been on Israel's coronavirus green list, Netanyahu and his staff would technically be compelled to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Another country turned "green" in the ministry's latest listing was Bahrain, which along with its Gulf ally the United Arab Emirates has established ties with Israel, only the third and fourth Arab nations to do so.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu announced he had spoken with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and accepted an invitation to conduct "an official visit to Bahrain soon".

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

India reports 18,645 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours; national recovery rate rises to 96.42%
India

India reports 18,645 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours; national recovery rate rises to 96.42%

Total fatalities have reached 1,50,999 with 201 more people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed

Coronavirus News Updates: COVID-19 vaccination dry run at six sites in Uttar Pradesh from 5 January
India

Coronavirus News Updates: COVID-19 vaccination dry run at six sites in Uttar Pradesh from 5 January

Coronavirus News Updates: In a statement, the state government said the dry run will start at 10 am in three urban and as many rural sites with a minimum of two sessions

While the world races to get COVID-19 vaccine, Somalia lags behind in safety measure, testing
science

While the world races to get COVID-19 vaccine, Somalia lags behind in safety measure, testing

Fewer than 27,000 tests for the virus have been conducted in Somalia, a country of more than 15 million people, one of the lowest rates in the world.